By Barb Pillsbury <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November, 2003
Summary: After playing Scrabble at the Lexor Hotel, Clark suggests a mind boggling game that leads to interesting consequences.
"There's no such word as Chumpy!" Clark exclaimed.
"Sure there is," Lois insisted. "Someone's a chump, therefore he's chumpy. "
"Try again," Clark shot back.
"Are you challenging me?"
"You bet your sweet little chumpy, I am!" Clark retorted, looking up at her from his half-reclining position on the floor of the honeymoon suite at the Lexor Hotel.
Clark stared at Lois' upturned face, her chin determined, her eyes daring him to challenge her.
Imagine, here they were together and alone, and they were arguing about chumpy. He loved the way they would banter about such things, debate about stories, see different sides to the same issue. He never wanted it to end.
Clark could visualize always being with her, seeing her, sensing her, being alive because she was so near. The night before he had found it impossible to sleep with her lying in the bedroom so close by. Here in this suite they could be… they could… Get a grip, Clark!
He picked up the dictionary and thumbed through it.
"I told you," he said, holding up the dictionary so she could see it.
"You call *that* a dictionary?" she asked.
Clark shook his head. There she went, off again. Never taking anyone's word on anything.
"Lois. You are the most competitive person I ever met. What is it about you that makes you want to win all the time?"
"I don't need to win all the time," Lois said somewhat coyly.
Clark smiled. That was Lois—always questioning, always confronting, taking risks, taking chances, daring anyone to take issue with her when she thought she was right—jumping into the pool before gauging the depth of the water.
That's what Clark Kent loved about Lois Lane. That's why Clark Kent was *in* love with Lois Lane.
He knew it. He guessed he had always known it. From the moment she questioned him, confronted him, said she had figured him out, dared the farmboy to fall in love with her; he knew that he had done just that—fallen completely and hopelessly in love with her.
"Well, how about a different game?" Clark asked her. "What about Boggle?"
"Sure," Lois agreed. "I'll win that one, too."
Lois smiled back at him. This was the most fun she had had in a long time. Clark was so great to be with. She could totally be herself, and he accepted her. Sure, he confronted her occasionally, but always with a positive, sometimes even playful feeling—never demanding—never critical—well almost never.
There had been the time she had stolen his story and then Jimmy's idea, but she guessed she had deserved it. And Clark had not used it…would never use it. He was…
Lois tried to concentrate as Clark shook the letter tiles inside the domed capsule and watched them fall into their places. The tiles read:
"Ooooh," Lois remarked. "Hard one," she said, smiling.
"Not so bad," Clark responded.
Lois turned over the timer.
"Vote, lot, lots, slot, veto, lop, top, spot, stop, stove, poet, plot, plus, sue, nut, nuts, sun, suet," Clark rattled off quickly and paused.
"Stuck?" Lois asked, snidely.
"Nope," Clark retorted, looking directly at her. "How about voluptuous and voluptuousness?"
"How did you do that?"
"Just good at this, I guess," Clark responded.
"Okay, showoff," Lois snapped back. "But I see a few easy ones you missed."
"You mean love, and you. I saw them, Lois," he said and smiled at her.
Lois caught her breath. He did have the most wonderful smile. And, why had he held back on those two words? Was he trying to tell her something? No, Mr. Greenjeans was just embarrassed. That's all it could be. She had warned him about falling for her, and she had made darn sure that their relationship was just… was just … was what? Friendship? Yes, that. But he had proven himself to be so much more.
Lois knew he wasn't the hack from nowheresville, or the farmboy, or Mr. Greenjeans anymore. In just the short time they had worked together, she had come to respect him, and he—unlike any man she had worked with—had supported her, agreed with her, and acquiesced to her being on top.
Lois' faced flushed. That idea had brought another quickly on its heels. Here in the honeymoon suite, alone with Clark, that idea had brought to mind a picture of…
"Come on, Lois!"
Clark gazed intently at the beautiful woman perched so near him—just out of reach. For a moment, he detected something in her eyes. It was something he had seen there before— many times, but it was only when he was wearing the cape and tights. He knew Lois loved Superman. He would have been blind not to notice it.
But that look? Here? Now? Maybe it was just wishful thinking. He longed so for her to look at him the way she looked at Superman.
Yes, he *was* Superman. But he wanted… no that wasn't strong enough… needed… no, even stronger… craved Lois to look at the real him—at Clark—in the same way.
Had she just then? Should he… should he? He shook his head.
"Your turn, Lois!"
Lois nodded and then looked down at the tiles in front of her, but her mind drifted to the previous night, when Clark had come into the bedroom of the honeymoon suite to awaken her. She had been dreaming about Superman, a common nightly occurrence—yet this time Clark's face kept appearing— probably because he was in the next room. And then Clark touched her and Lois felt…
"I…I need a glass of water. Shake the tiles for me, will you, Clark?" she asked as she got up, stumbling slightly.
Clark reached out to steady her and his touch did anything but that. She walked quickly away and then looked over her shoulder.
"But no cheating!" she exclaimed, trying to keep the moment light and to get her bearings back. She just couldn't be thinking about Clark in that way. She reached for a glass and poured herself some ice water.
Clark watched her retreat toward the bar. He wanted so much to share everything with her—tell her how he felt. But first, he had to tell her that one all-consuming thing about himself before he dared to move their relationship to something beyond friendship. But how to tell her?
Clark looked down at the tiles and took a deep breath. Maybe he had to let her find out someday, but perhaps not here, and not now. But what was he waiting for?
He shook the tiles, and as they landed in their spots, he glanced at them and realized that with a few slight changes…
Lois returned and squatted next to Clark on the floor. She patted his arm. "Did you give me some good letters?" she asked.
Clark smiled at her, as just the mere gesture of patting his arm caused a jolt of electricity to ebb through him.
"Yep, I gave you some great letters."
"Okay," she said, putting the glass of water on the coffee table near them and trying to concentrate on the tiles in front of her.
"Great?" she questioned. "There are two Ks."
"You can figure out what to do with them," Clark insisted. Just be as creative as you always are. Look at the whole picture."
"Sure," she said. "Turn over the timer."
Clark turned the hourglass over and waited hopefully.
"Ark, lark, mark," she began. "Hey! Too bad I'm not allowed to use proper nouns, since your name's here, Clark."
"Uh, huh," Clark said. "Concentrate, you can find more."
"Okay," she said, staring at the tiles. "Kiss," she added and felt her face flush as an irresistible urge came over her. Lois looked over at Clark's lips as the fantasy engulfed her.
"Lois, your time's running out."
"Yeah! Fine! Alright! Okay, I see man, sup, and oh, super," she continued and then started to chuckle. "Can't we change that rule, Clark? Pleeeease. I mean the one about proper names. I found Superman's name. Your name and…and…"
All of a sudden, the letters became as clear as if they had lifted themselves off the floor and swirled around her head. Clark K is Superman.
"Clark," Lois said, hardly able to catch her breath as she looked into his eyes.
"I know," Clark responded, reaching out to cup the side of her face. "It boggles the mind doesn't it?"
"Yes, and now one more thing," he said and leaned down to capture her lips in his.